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Why Talk of the Sound Now Requires Full Names and Positive ID to Post or Comment and What May Come As a Result

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Why Talk of the Sound Now Requires Full Names and Positive ID to Post or Comment and What May Come As a Result

May 28, 2013 - 20:26
16 comments

Our posting and commenting policy changed on May 27, 2013 so that only those persons who are positively identified by me and post comments or blog posts under their own name will be able to post to the site, effective immediately. The same concept will apply to companies and organizations.

If you have been posting under a pseudonym and would like to change it to your full name or you have been using your full name and have not been upgraded to an account capable of posting to the site please contact me at [email protected] and I will make the necessary changes.

If I do not know you and you wish to post to the site you will need to contact me directly at [email protected] and request permission to post to the site. The test is not whether you agree with me but whether you can make a positive contribution to a community dialog on issues of importance of New Rochelle residents.

There have been a few emails asking questions so let me answer them here.

Why are you doing this?

It was always part of the plan. In fact, I waited longer than I had intended. I believe that the people should "own" their own words.

Why now?

Two factors impacted the timing.

First, as some folks have noticed we have had several recent and significant spam attacks which have ground the site to a halt and filled the site with spam advertising. That is a function of our software allowing anyone to register and post without prior approval. As the site has grown so have the spam accounts and spam attacks. It has become a lot of work to monitor and disable these accounts.

Second, I have grown tired of people saying they say they "support" the site but are afraid to do so publicly. At this point, after 5 years, if you are still afraid to use your own name on this site then you are never going to overcome that fear and I am no longer willing to oblige that sentiment.

Can you make an exception for me?

A few long-time pseudonymous contributors to this site have asked if I might make an exception for them so that they do not have to use their full name. The answer is "no".

What do you except to happen as a result of this change?

What I expect to happen is what has happened every time I have ratcheted up the requirements to post to the site -- the amount of comments will decline and traffic will decline initially, then it will level off, and eventually it will increase beyond the previous high point as existing contributors come to terms with the new policy and new contributors are attracted and join the site.

I expect the level of discourse to improve and the amount of spam on the site to drop to zero making for an improved reader experience.

I don't like the change!

I could not care less. You are welcome to create your own web site and run it as you see fit. This is my site and I will run it as I think is best.

Anything else?

My long experience tells me that New Rochelle residents are either indifferent and uninvolved with their twin governments or afraid of them. I am a piece of the view expressed in 1914 by John Basil Barnhill (p.34) (and often attributed incorrectly to Thomas Jefferson):

Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.

We have had too much tyranny and not enough liberty for too long. In the case of New Rochelle, this is a tyranny of the mind where genuine differences of opinion are treated as blasphemy or a localized form of treason. That needs to change and this site is committed to being an agent of that change. That change requires that residents stand up and be counted.

While many residents tell me they see Talk of the Sound as an important counterweight to what can often be an oppressive government, I see few who are who are actually willing to put their "John Hancock" on that sentiment. I use that term advisedly. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence took very real risks in signing their names to their words. Their courage inspired others to join the cause and put their NAMES and safety at risk.

Until those who SAY they support Talk of the Sound (and what it stands for) are actually willing to put THEIR names on the line and speak out publicly then New Rochelle will continue to be ruled by a combination of indifference and intimidation.

A final word on political parties, as there appears to be come confusion on this point.

There seems to be the idea out there that I am a Republican. I am not as anyone checking the voter rolls can see.

In my life, I have been registered as a Democrat and as a Republican but concluded I would prefer not be a member of any party.

I grew up in a family of Democrats. My mom's dad was a union carpenter in St. Louis. My dad's dad was an executive with Easter Seals and was involved in the Great Society movement during the Lyndon Johnson's administration. My father worked on John F. Kennedy's 1960 Presidential campaign. My mother ran as a Democrat and served multiple terms as a Village Trustee in Irvington, NY. As a kid, I worked on all of her campaigns. I also worked on the campaign of Congressman Peter Peyser who had been a Republican but switched to Democrat at the time I volunteered for his campaign.

When I came of voting age, I quite naturally registered as a Democrat. I remained a Democrat until 1994. At that time, after living in Chicago for three years, I moved back to New York and sick of what I viewed as a feckless foreign policy under Democrats I registered as a Republican. After a couple of years of that I decided I did not really like either party or parties generally and switched to "non-registered" and have remained "non" ever since.

While I can site many reasons, the mindless voting along party line regardless of the caliber or quality of individual candidates or the merits of a particular issue is as good a reason as any as to why I have remained a "non". While there are aspersions to cast enough on either sides, it is my view that it is our two political parties generally and not any individual political party that is responsible for the decades of corruption, cronyism and malfeasance which has come to define our municipal and school governments in New Rochelle.

I am hardly alone as "non" is the fastest growing category of voter in New Rochelle, edging close to 10,000 of New Rochelle's 43,000 voters.

There are 16 Comments

Obviously its easy to hide behind pen names and harder to put your name on a thought, opinion or blog. I have and will continue to be vocal and those I have been vocal about know where I live.
I welcome them to visit bring Pastry.
In a Democracy we are encourage to voice objection to our government. The more the better. Believe me our Mayor and his cronies would love for us all to go away and except all they brings without any question.
By putting you name on it you will give it more credibility and it will make you think before you speak. That said man up.

Martin Sanchez's picture

I have for several years contributed to TOS and other local blogs. I've always felt it necessary to sign my name. Yes, it takes courage, but it is the right thing to do. I've never been entirely confortable wasting my energy in disputing or arguing against some anonymous nameplate who pretends to have strength yet cowards when he is called to give their name. Welcome to a new day!

My Name is Bruce K Negrin and I don't have to change nothing! If you believe what you say put a name to it and like Martin and Ken and John D and a few others I take no offense to signing my name. Never have.

Bob, I love that change, too many people were hiding behind anonymity to spew their hatred and bad taste.

I am sure that the quality of comments will go up tremendously.

Let's see if my friend NewRochelleUSED is going to be courageous enough..... I very much doubt so.

I applaud TOTS new policy encouraging integrity and respect of the posters & bloggers, while discouraging trolls, spammers, fakes and bigots, unwilling to identify themselves.

TOTS new policy will ultimately make this a more popular website, providing information to more people. If the voters of New Rochelle were better informed, and could come to a consensus regarding various local issues, we would have a better democracy, neighborhoods and city. A higher level of discussion, information, analysis, and pleasure will result from TOTS new policy. Thank you, Bob.

When people have to sign their names they will carefully weigh their words. This will level the playing field for those that wanted to make reckless criticisms. It has been said, the truth will make you free. This blog is truth in action. Keep up the good work.

Ok, so now you know my name LETS MUCKRAKE!!!!

Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano's picture

As an elected official that is always happy to debate with constituents, it's been troubling to face a few nasty online attacks over the years by cowards using anonymous names. Debate, even when we disagree, is positive, but it's always better to keep the debate respectful, and we should focus on ideas not personal attacks. This change will help foster a more honest debate on this website.

You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, New Rochelle government has become a one-sided affair. It is all about stacking the deck in the favor of the mayor and degrading or silencing anyone who has opposing viewpoints.

The site has grown in leaps and bounds fostering open debate and free exchange of information, good and bad. With over 2 million visitors you can't deny the impact on all things local and New Rochelle is in a far more better place for that.
Since nearly it's inception I have posted under the name of John D. I have never shied away from what I have posted, nor have I ever expected any anonymity. I have long been known as John D or JD (this isn't unusual with a name as common as John). In fact whenever I spoke to people about TOS, I have always introduced myself as my former moniker. That being said, it has always been my intention to make my content the most significant issue rather than who it came from. Agree/ disagree, it's all part of the bigger picture in opening up dialogue. So, if adding a few letters to my screen name helps, I'm all for it. In fact, a couple of years ago in a dialogue between Bruce and myself, it was noted who I was. (I do look back fondly at some of the actual anonymous posting. There was some really funny stuff out there. I hope those folks will continue to follow along.)
Anyhow, for the few left out there who still may not know me. My name is John D'Alois and I am a "Sounder". To all the other Sounders out there, well done and carry on!
I leave you with a quote from another famous New Rochelleian who once said " if
there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may live in peace."

Now that we have the new rules and maybe Bob has had a chance to rest up from his hard fought run for School Board I am hoping we get back to the matters at hand.
Any New Ro elected officials caught with Goats these days?
Do we have any pictures with the City Manager wearing his Gadsden flag Snuggy in front of the Tube?
Aren't there any Garbage Men sleeping along the I95 Corridor?
Has anyone tried hiring someone lately from the cronie list.
Any School Library Sexual Escapades?
Any Commissioners playing Golf, or getting free meals.
Seems Like New Rochelle has turned into a place of integrity these day.

Robert Cox's picture

We will be getting back to the business at hand soon enough.

However, the change in policy is actually a part of other changes that I am working on -- basically an updating of the entire site.

I am in the process now of setting up a new installation of our software, migrating us from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.

While there are many good things about Drupal 7, the one thing I am unhappy with is that Drupal 7 does not have a working Blog API module. What that means is that we cannot use blog editing software like MarsEdit or Windows Live Writer to create new posts for the site; for now everything will have to be done within the browser itself. This negatively impacts my workflow and anyone else who has followed my advice to use this sort of software.

So why make the change?

Well Drupal 7 is now a stable release (t has been out for a couple years but I prefer to wait a bit before moving my site over).

The big thing is that it offers "responsive themes".

What that means is the software knows if you are on a desktop computer, a table or a smartphone and serves up the site in a format suited to that form factor.

The current theme used on TOTS is not "responsive" so I have been sorting out getting a new theme (look and feel) for the site.

If you want to see a demo version from the developer of the them you can visit here: http://demo.morethanthemes.com/pressblog/default/

I will change the color from blue to white and add in some additional blocks but that is a basic of idea where the site is going next.

Bear with me; I am hoping to make this conversion this weekend but there are ALWAYS problems so expect them.

I'm James O'Toole does anyone know me?

This change is for the better, Change is progress. Now can The City of New Rochelle Change?

Talk of the Sound/Bob has given the people a forum to step up and speak up, many stories tell of the behind the scene deals, the barber shop and cigar store plotting, the fiendish plans and yes, the back room politics. Unfortunately some of the bad people and events have overshadowed the good ones that are affecting change and doing good things. We have to inspect what we expect. If you see something, say something.

That is what Bob has done here at TOTS; give the average Joe a place to put the information out in the public eye. Send a note for further follow up about something that you see is wrong but can’t confirm it. Conversation is now being had and changes are starting to come. Just remember in the posts that are done, in order for there to be any change and credibility, you must keep it clean correct and be willing to except the answers you get back. Like so many cases here the answers may not be what you what to hear. With the new policy, some of the name calling and threats will stop so we may along with this site, move forward and progress. Continue with true open dialogue. Otherwise we are no better than the nay Sayers and critics.

We now have a forum to speak up and have conversations. Yes some/many people say the wrong things and have hidden behind their cover names. But that is the price we pay for the world of fast track media we live in. People are starting to see the real goings on in New Rochelle. Now we are looking for a change in the way this city does business.

It is never too late to effect change. If more people had kept up the pressure over the years and let The City Council and City Manager know that we do care and are watching them, things could be different. The citizens are also to blame by turning a deaf ear and throwing up their hands in defeat. Problem is that the people that want to say something haven’t or are afraid to for fear of retribution or ridicule. Now we have a venue to speak out here on “Talk of the Sound”. Things have changed due to the coverage this site gets. Remember, Change is good!

“Common Sense for the Common Good”

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